Broken Characters—Why We Fall In Love With Things That Need Fixing

Simple. Because we’re broken too.

That’s all life is really. One chaotic mess, all of us scrambling to fit in, to fill our holes, to find someone who gets us. The goal in life isn’t to find happiness, it’s to find ourselves—the pieces of which have been flung all over this world. Glinting there in someone’s smile, steaming in that first bite, scattered along a road you’ve never traveled before.

We find these pieces of ourselves in people, in places, in tastes and smells and the things that abandon sensory explanation. They are in the invisible. They are in the every day. Life is about gathering these pieces and keeping them safe. Life is about connections. Because without them we’re all just floating, waiting to be tethered to something.

And when you read a great book, one with characters as tactile as the face in your bathroom mirror, one whose words are so true they leave a familiar taste on the tip of your tongue, that’s what it feels like. It feels like you’ve been tethered to something and it’s been tethered to you. It feels like you belong.

People write for all kinds of different reasons. To make the world a better place. To provide people with an escape. But, for some reason, I don’t think about those things. Not because it wouldn’t be nice to make the world a better place or to entertain someone long enough to forget about whatever they’ve been going through. But because that’s not what keeps me up at night when I’m lying in bed, desperately trying to answer the why. Even though the answer is usually always the same. Why am I writing thisWhy do I write at all? Because when I do I don’t feel so alone and when people read my books I hope that’s how they feel too.

Understood.

Recognized.

We cling to characters who are broken because they remind us that we are not alone.  And when those characters—who we’ve come to recognize as one of those pieces of us flung out into the world; scattered in the pages of a book written by someone we’ve never met—find what they’ve been looking for, part of us feels found too.

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20 thoughts on “Broken Characters—Why We Fall In Love With Things That Need Fixing

  1. We find beauty in those that are flawed. Perfection is boring. Give us someone with character, that is a step away from the norm. ❤

  2. This is so amazingly beautiful and true. All I want is to make people feel what you are describing – that they are tethered to something that matters. (Just one of your wonderful images.) Great blog – this is why we write.

    • Thank you so much!!! Making people feel connected is what this blog, and hopefully my books, are all about. Because once people feel validated and recognized they start to recognize others, investing in relationships and in themselves–all things that in turn will make the world a better place!

  3. melissajanda says:

    Yes, we are all looking for ways to connect with each other. That is why I go to the “About” page of every blog I read…looking for that connection. And through the process of writing we reveal more of ourselves than we even know. Beautiful post.

    • Thank you! Thats one of the things I hope to gain through blogging especially. Initially I was looking forward to establishing a hub online for my books and tracking my own writing journey but since then I’ve found so many other amazing blogs out there and have connected with other writers going through similar experiences–which has been a connection I was not really expecting but am so glad to have found!

  4. As I wrote, I found that the more flawed characters became my favorite characters. They were the ones whole were more complex, who had the better back story about why they were the way they were. I never really thought about why I liked them more, though. Good insight!

    • Thank you! I think as contemporary fiction has evolved writers have moved away from generalizations and popular archetypes–which they assumed were more relatable–in favor of characters that are more flawed which is the real key to establishing emotional connections with readers.

  5. Katie says:

    Great post!

  6. Haggers says:

    Well said. Love this!

  7. […] My favourite writing post: “Broken Characters” by laekanzeakemp […]

    • Morgan, thank you so much for sharing the link to this post on your blog! The response I’ve gotten from this one post has been quiet shocking. I’m so glad it resonated with you. It means a lot! Thanks again for sharing it with your followers and thanks for having such a hilariously insightful blog!!

  8. dragonplume says:

    Thanks for following my blog. Characters need to be broken. Readers relate and when the characters fix some of their “flaws”, the reader has hope that she can do the same!

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